Healthcare – Medical Data and Image Archiving
Technology has continued to revolutionize the way healthcare institutions manage patient care, image archiving, and medical data. Confidentiality and maintenance of valuable electronic protected health information (EPHI) is of foremost concern. Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) have created a proliferation of digital images collected from x-rays, ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, computed tomography scans, angiography, and more.
Digitized medical data must be stored unaltered and readily available to patients, doctors, and insurance companies. Precious research data and related intellectual property must be preserved, protected and leveraged for the next big medical discovery or cure.
The implementation of the Healthcare Information Technology Act’s (HITECH) Omnibus rule, takes the level of data protection required to a new level by mandating explicit guidelines regarding the technological aspects of maintaining the patient record confidentiality. The Act adds traction to HIPAA requirements by including new breach notification requirements that carry heavy penalties up to 1.5 million dollars for each violation. The cost of a breach can be far-reaching and may include loss of customers, class action lawsuits, and damage to brands.
HITECH requires all healthcare providers (including large institutions, physician’s offices, and their business associates), to implement electronic healthcare systems. Although the Act does not stipulate the type of technology, it does specify detailed requirements for digital and medical image archiving such as: encryption, integrity controls, person or entity authentication, transmission security, and mechanisms to corroborate that electronically protected information remains unaltered. Additionally, HITECH requires that backup and disaster recovery plans and procedures be implemented.
All of these requirements challenge healthcare industry information technology systems as they now become the first line of protection against a privacy breach.
Alliance Storage Technologies, Inc., (ASTI) provides long-term data retention Archiving Solutions for healthcare applications that are both cost-effective and more secure than other alternatives. The Encryption feature enables organizations to comply with HIPAA/HITECH and other regulatory mandates that require encrypted data.
Preserves Data Unaltered – ASTI solutions are based upon true Write-Once-Read-Many (WORM) optical technology. Encrypted data is written to optical media after which it becomes unalterable remaining intact for periods greater than 50 years.
Encryption – With this optional feature, data at-rest is encrypted with unique keys for each object using FIPS 140-2 compliant AES-256 encryption algorithm. Encryption adds another layer of security to your data enabling compliance with specific regulations and ensuring that all data remains confidential.
Transmission Security and Integrity – ASTI NAS solutions integrate seamlessly with existing storage networks presenting as a standard TCP/IP resource with support for CIFS, NFS, and FTP protocols. The server security-administration ensures that it can recognize and approve validated clients.
User Authentication (person or entity) – Users accessing the Archive Appliance are assigned unique passwords. Authentication services are supported using Windows Active Directory, Local User Level Security, or LDAP.
Disaster Recovery - Optical media provides an affordable disaster recovery option as automatically duplicated media can be removed from libraries and stored off-site. The Replication feature of the Archive Appliance offers the ultimate in disaster recovery protection with duplicate libraries located in different physical locations providing constant access to data – the key to business continuity and high-availability.
Email and Image Archiving – Partnering with industry-leaders, ASTI solutions integrate with third-party software applications that manage and sort email and images according to the internal policy guidelines established within that application. The images and email are then stored efficiently and securely on ASTI NAS optical libraries that fit directly into the existing storage network. Note that a Direct Attached library can be used however, it will require a third-party software application.
Scalable/Expandable Archiving – Expandable optical disk archive systems are based upon high-capacity media magazines and scalable robotic libraries. As data storage requirements increase, libraries can be easily expanded within the same footprint offering investment protection through capacity expansions and future-proof system upgrades.
Low Total Cost of Ownership - After the data is permanently written on the media, it no longer requires a constant power source to maintain the data. This greatly reduces costs associated with storing archived data for the required lifespan. Additionally, the removable media offers an affordable disaster recovery solution. Systems reduce overhead and operating costs by: minimizing the cost and frequency of data migrations through extended media life, removing static data from expensive primary and backup systems freeing up valuable resources, and lowering power, cooling and maintenance costs. Systems scale incrementally as data archiving needs expand.